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Frosted Sugar Cookie Recipe

Updated on August 22, 2013
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Vespa's recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" & "Taste of Home" magazines. She belongs to "Cook's Recipe Testers" for Cooks Illustrated.

Frosted Sugar Cookies
Frosted Sugar Cookies | Source

Soft Sugar Cookies & Frosting Recipe for Sugar Cookies

As a child, shopping for school clothes bored me to tears. My mother's only recourse was bribery: the promise of a frosted sugar cookie from Mrs. Fields' cookie factory would always get me up and out the door.

Sugar cookies are one of my favorites because they contain only a few ingredients that you probably keep in the pantry. You can easily whip up a batch in a few minutes, and homemade sugar cookies are so much more delicious than the store-bought variety. But plain sugar cookies can be boring without a little embellishment.

Buttercream frosting turns ordinary sugar cookies into something special. Stay around until the end of the article for easy techniques you can use to decorate cookies for any occasion. This basic sugar cookie dough is so versatile that it can be tweaked with a variety of ingredients for special tea cookies.

Keep cookie dough on hand for last-minute emergencies by double wrapping dough logs and freezing them for up to 6 weeks. Or store cookie dough in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Now let's make sugar cookies!


Tips

  • Choose real butter for best flavor.
  • Baking powder produces soft, cake-like cookies; choose baking soda for chewier texture.
  • Always use Rumsford brand baking powder, or another aluminum-free product, to avoid metallic-tasting cookies.
  • Cookie dough will keep for 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Wrap it well.
  • Freeze cookie dough for up to 6 weeks. Wrap in plastic and store in a Ziplock freezer bag so it doesn't absorb odors. Write cookie type and date frozen on the outside.
  • To thaw cookie dough: leave in refrigerator several hours.
  • Baked, unfrosted cookies can be frozen for up to 4 weeks.
  • Learn to decorate cookies for every occasion! See "Decorating Cookies" in Amazon capsule.


Table of Contents

  • Soft Sugar Cookies Recipe

  • Delicious Variations

  • Buttercream Frosting Recipe

  • Cookie Decorating Items from Amazon

  • How to Decorate Cookies: What are Sugar Sheets?


Frosted Sugar Cookies

4.3 stars from 6 ratings of Frosted Sugar Cookies

Frosted Sugar Cookies

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 10 min
Ready in: 25 min
Yields: 32 cookies (3-inch)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 2 small eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder or soda (see tips)
If storing cookie dough, shape into logs
If storing cookie dough, shape into logs
Slice dough
Slice dough
Place sliced dough on cookie sheet and bake
Place sliced dough on cookie sheet and bake

Instructions

  1. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Using a spatula, mix with butter and egg mixture just until combined.
  3. To bake cookies: If using baking soda dough, form into 1 inch balls and roll in granulated sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. If using baking soda dough: chill dough, roll it out 1/4 inch thick and cut into rounds with a cookie cutter or drinking glass OR press balls of dough into flat, 1/4 inch thick disks. Place them on a cookie sheet.
  4. Bake at 375 Fahrenheit for 10-12 minutes, or until edges are beginning to turn golden. Remove cookies from oven and let them cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Use a spatula to remove them to a cooling rack or the kitchen counter.
  5. Cool cookies completely before frosting. See below for buttercream frosting recipe.
  6. To store cookie dough: form dough into 2 logs and keep in the refrigerator until ready for use, up to 2 weeks.
  7. Cookie dough can also be frozen for up to 6 weeks.
  8. Serve sugar cookies with hot coffee, black tea or a tall glass of cold milk. Enjoy!
Tea Cookies with Orange zest, dried cranberries and almond slivers
Tea Cookies with Orange zest, dried cranberries and almond slivers | Source

Delicious Variations

  • Roll cookie dough balls in cinnamon-sugar mixture before baking for "snickerdoodles".
  • Drizzle melted dark chocolate over frosted sugar cookies.
  • Sprinkle frosted cookies with colored sugar.
  • "Paint" frosted cookies to suit the occasion (see "Decorating Cookies" in the Amazon capsule above-Tips Section).
  • For tea cookies add to cookie dough: one tablespoon of orange zest, 1/2 cup slivered almonds and 1/2 cup craisins (dried cranberries). Serve unfrosted.


Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened or vegetable shortening (Crisco)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 4-4 1/2 cups powdered (confectioner's) sugar

Instructions:

  1. Place butter and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Using a hand or stand mixer, whip until fluffy.
  3. Gradually add powdered sugar and whip several minutes, until light, fluffy and of spreading consistency.

Color frosting with a few drops of food coloring or wild berry sauce.


Heart-shaped cut outs from sugar sheets
Heart-shaped cut outs from sugar sheets | Source

How to Decorate Cookies

Sprinkle colored sugar over buttercream frosting. You can also experiment with brightly colored candies or anything that strikes your fancy.

What are Sugar Sheets?

Sugar sheets bridge the gap between cake decorating and scrapbooking. As seen in the Amazon capsule (above), sugar sheets can be used to personalize frosted sugar cookies for special occasions or just for fun.

Available in a variety of bright colors or elegant designs, they are edible and can be cut into any design you can imagine with a pair of scissors, exacto knife or a stamp. Lay the shapes atop frosted sugar cookies or cupcakes for professional results.




Decorate sugar cookies with brightly colored candies or sprinkles
Decorate sugar cookies with brightly colored candies or sprinkles | Source

Comments

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  • vespawoolf profile image
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    vespawoolf 2 years ago from Peru, South America

    I agree, FlourishAnyway! They're best with frosting.

  • FlourishAnyway profile image

    FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

    With Christmas just around the corner, I can't wait for these! I don't eat them plain, but frost them and I'm all there!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

    VVanNess, thanks for coming by!

  • VVanNess profile image

    Victoria Van Ness 3 years ago from Prescott Valley

    Delicious! This is just a tad bit different than my sugar cookies. I'll have to give your recipe, and especially your buttercream frosting with wild berry sauce, a shot! Thank you!!

  • vespawoolf profile image
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    vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

    Deborah-Diane, sugar cookies are very popular this time of year. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  • Deborah-Diane profile image

    Deborah-Diane 3 years ago from Orange County, California

    I love frosted sugar cookies. I'm sharing this with my followers because this time of year many people have cookie exchanges or they give cookies to their friends and neighbors. Great info!

  • vespawoolf profile image
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    vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

    ThelmaAlberts, I think good quality butter really makes a difference in these delicately flavored cookies.

  • Thelma Alberts profile image

    Thelma Alberts 3 years ago from Germany

    Yummy! I love baking cookies especially during Christmas time. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

    CraftytotheCore, I really appreciate that tip about Land O Lakes butter. I'll give it a go next time I make sugar cookies. Thank you!

  • CraftytotheCore profile image

    CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

    I love frosted sugar cookies. I have tried all kinds of butter, and the brand I like best is Land O Lakes. But it's really expensive. So most of the time I use Blue Bonnet. They look delicious. I can smell them through the screen.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

    FlourishAnyway, frosted sugar cookies are one of my favorites. : ) I'm glad you approve! Thanks for the votes and comment.

  • FlourishAnyway profile image

    FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

    Oh, yum! Plain sugar cookies are not my thing, but put frosting on them and now you're talking! Thanks for the inspiration. Now I am hungry for these. Voted up and more.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    NicoleS, thanks for coming by!

  • Nicole S profile image

    Nicole S Hanson 4 years ago from Minnesota

    Num this is wonderful! You can't go wrong with cookies :)

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Moonlake, thanks for the pin! These are such simple yet delicious cookies. I appreciate your support.

  • moonlake profile image

    moonlake 4 years ago from America

    I came back to look at your cookie recipe and pin it to my cookie board.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    PeggyW, thanks for the pin! Yes, the variation is delicious and one of my friends always asks for it when she comes over.

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

    I like your tea cookie variation the best and now that I have joined Pinterest, will pin it into my Like Cookies? board.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    ExpectGreatThings, I'm glad you're going to make the sugar cookies! They're great for kids and adults alike, and you can decorate them so that they're even more kid-friendly. Thanks for your kind words!

  • ExpectGreatThings profile image

    ExpectGreatThings 4 years ago from Illinois

    You have the best recipes. Can't wait to try this one. Hopefully tomorrow :)

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Thanks shanmarie!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Blond logic, I'm really glad I could solve your cookie dilemma. Enjoy the frosted cookies and thanks for coming by!

  • shanmarie profile image

    Shannon 4 years ago from Texas

    What else can I say, but mmmmmmm? LOL Thanks for sharing!

  • Blond Logic profile image

    Mary Wickison 4 years ago from Brazil

    Wow. You have answered questions I wasn't even asking. I always could taste something metallic in my muffins. I assumed I didn't blend the baking powder in well. Now I know this isn't the case, it is the aluminium ! I also didn't realize the different results for baking powder and baking soda.

    Recently my cookies, which I love, have begun to even bore me! I will now try to jazz them up with frosting. Loads of good ideas and hints. Thank you.

  • vespawoolf profile image
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    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Sgbrown, I'm glad you're going to try these cookies this weekend. They're so easy and children love them. Pastel frosting and jelly beans sounds beautiful! Enjoy and thank you for the votes and share!

  • sgbrown profile image

    Sheila Brown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

    Just in time for Easter! I really like this simple recipe. The sugar sheets are something I have never heard of butI am going to try to find some this week. If I can't find them, some pastel colored frosting and jelly beans sounds like a good idea. These will be great for my grandchildren for an Easter treat! Voted up, useful and sharing! :)

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    beingwell, this is the quickest and easiest cookie recipe I know. You can whip up the frosting in a flash and you can play with different decorating options. I hope you try it someday! Thanks for all your support.

  • beingwell profile image

    beingwell 4 years ago from Bangkok

    Voted up, vespawoolf! You're an artist, you know that! Those cookie dough photos are just lovely. I hope I can bake someday. It's one of my frustrations in life. hihihi...

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    GlimmerTwinFan, Thanks for the pin and comment. I often get requests for these cookies which is fine with me--they're so quick and easy to make!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    tammyswallow, I'm happy to know someone else who enjoys sugar cookies year 'round! Thanks for coming by.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Alocsin, these are rich cookies so you only need to eat one or two to avoid a sugar overdose. : ) The great thing about these cookies is that they're quick and easy to make. Enjoy and thanks for your votes!

  • tammyswallow profile image

    Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

    This looks wonderful. I love sugar cookies any time of the year. I love the idea of dried fruit in them. Fabulous hub!

  • alocsin profile image

    alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

    I've had sugar cookies before but never though to put frosting on the top, maybe because it's a sugar overdoes ;) But I love sweets so will forward this recipe to the family cook. Voting this Up and Useful.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    I just made a batch yesterday and the family raved. This is a nice go-to recipe because it's so easy and quick. Thanks for your comment.

  • tiffany delite profile image

    tiffany delite 4 years ago from united states

    this looks easy enough...and very, very yummy! i love sugar cookies...thanks so much for sharing. blessings!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Ktrapp, you're right that homemade cookies are always so much tastier than the bland bakery items in the grocery store. I hope you have a chance to make them sometime during the year. You're right, you don't hae to wait for Christmas to enjoy frosted sugar cookies!

  • ktrapp profile image

    Kristin Trapp 4 years ago from Illinois

    Sometimes I see soft sugar cookies, topped with bright pink or yellow frosting, in the bakery section of the local grocery store. Your cookies remind me of those, though I'm sure yours are a thousand times tastier. I only think to make sugar cookies at Christmas time, cut in a variety of shapes and decorated for the season, so it never occurred to me to make them anytime of the year topped with butter cream frosting. Delicious.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    lindacee, we hope you enjoy the sugar cookie variation as much as we do! Frosting and decorating them is a lot of fun with kids, too, especially when using the sugar sheets. Thanks for your comment!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    JackieLynnley, this is a great last minute treat and so easy to make. I'm glad you can use the recipe...thanks for coming over!

  • lindacee profile image

    lindacee 4 years ago from Southern Arizona

    I have always loved the simplicity of sugar cookies. However, your additional ingredients and embellishments move them into an entirely different category. Your recipe ideas make sugar cookies worthy of a special occasion. Can't wait to try the orange zest, dried cranberry and almond variation!

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

    I will copy and use this for a quick treat for company, it looks really easy and delicious! Love the variations too. Thank you.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    RajanJolly, frosted cookies are so delicious and easy to make. Thank you for your visit!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    PeggyW, I made the sugar cookies with craisins, orange zest and almonds for some out-of-town guests last week and they couldn't get enough of them. My husband is partial to the frosted cookies, though. Either way they're yummy! Thanks for the votes.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    francisassissi, frosting is also one of my favorites. These give you a taste of frosting without all the effort of making cakes or cupcakes. The cookies are so fast and easy. Thanks for coming by and I hope you have a chance to try them.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Moonlake, I have to admit that I'm partial to chocolate chip cookies but it's hard to beat a frosted sugar cookie-- most everyone likes them. Thanks for the comment and vote!

  • rajan jolly profile image

    Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

    I love cookies with frosting. Thanks for sharing this. Voted up and useful.

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

    While I have never frosted sugar cookies, I really liked your variation ideas. Just may have to give them a try! Up and useful votes.

  • moonlake profile image

    moonlake 4 years ago from America

    They sound great to me. I love sugar cookies and will take them anytime. Now chocolate chip cookies I hardly ever eat. Voted up.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Unknown spy, it's such an easy recipe and you'll have plenty of cookies to share or cookie dough you can store for later. Enjoy and thanks for your comment!

  • unknown spy profile image

    IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

    wow wow wow, i love this recipe. it looks so good!! its 11 am here and i already wanted a frosted sugar cookie for dessert later.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    tipoague, please let me know if you have a chance to try the cookies. They're so quick, easy and satisfying. It's one of my favorite go-to recipes. Thanks for coming by!

  • tlpoague profile image

    Tammy 4 years ago from USA

    Yum! I haven't done any baking in awhile. After reading this, I may have to do some tonight. I will be sure and try out your recipe.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Om Parampoonya, the sugar sheets are a lot of fun. I felt like I was back in Kindergarten, making a craft for my mom. : )

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image

    Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago

    Thanks for your lovely recipe and useful tips. I've never used sugar sheets to decorate my cookies, but they surely sound like fun! Thanks for mentioning them. :)

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Randomcreative, I love storing cookie dough in the freezer as I often give cookies as gifts, etc. It's so convenient. I'm sure you'd enjoy decorating them with the sugar sheets since you're so creative, too!

  • randomcreative profile image

    Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    Mrs. Fields, yes! Your sugar cookies are so beautiful. I love the idea of freezing cookie dough and would love to get better about doing that.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Mary, I'm sure you're a great baker! This recipe isn't for the roll-out type of sugar cookie, as this dough spreads when baked. It bakes up well either straight from the mixing bowl or cold from the fridge. I love these soft sugar cookies with chewy texture, and the frosting makes them extra nice. Yes, the sugar sheets are a nice way to decorate them. Thanks for your comment!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Yes, we have a silpat (silicone sheet) and use it all the time. I find it especially useful since our gas oven is harder to regulate than an electric one and tends to burn cookies more easily. Great stuff, lemonkerdz!

  • mary615 profile image

    Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

    I just learned about "sugar sheets". I consider myself a good baker, too. I do differ with most bakers about putting cookie dough in the refrig. before rolling them out. I like my dough on the soft side. I find it rolls out better and I put the dough between waxed paper to roll.

    I do like your recipe, though. Good ideas here.

    Voted UP.

  • lemonkerdz profile image

    lemonkerdz 4 years ago from TRUJILLO, PERU

    These sheets really are the business and seem to stop the bottom of your cookies from burning as well. The great thing is you can scrunch the sheet in your hand straight from the oven it doesn´t get hot.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Lemonkerdz, thanks for the mention of silicone sheets. What a great tool, and I hadn't thought of using them to avoid contact with the metal. Thanks!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Carol, I like that sugar cookies are so fast and easy. The frosting makes it special! Thank you for all your support.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Suzie HQ, chocolate chip is probably my favorite but frosted sugar cookies are a close second. A creative person like you would enjoy the sugar sheets. They're fun to use and your guests will be impressed! Thanks so much all the comment, vote, pin, share.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Thanks DDE. Even if you're not a baker, sugar cookies are super easy and quick to make. I appreciate your comment!

  • lemonkerdz profile image

    lemonkerdz 4 years ago from TRUJILLO, PERU

    Wow that looks like a real sugar rush cookie. I like your tips for freshness but especially avoiding the aluminium, that's why i use silicone sheets to line the baking sheet to avoid contact with metal.

  • carol7777 profile image

    carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

    I almost took a bite out of the page here. Great and sweet recipe..Easy too. Thanks for this. I am going to vote up and pin.

  • Suzie HQ profile image

    Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

    Hi vespa,

    What a cool idea to add frosting. The Sugar sheets was really interesting as I was not familiar with them! I love cookies particularly choc chip but eat them all so this recipe is right on point for me!! Thanks vespa, another great one from your collection of delicious recipes!! votes, shared and pinned!

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Wow! Incredible photos and looks so tasty, makes me want to get into baking right away, thanks for sharing such a lovely idea for a perfect treat.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Billybuc, you made me laugh! I know what you mean--my husband turned up his nose at a plain sugar cookie just today, so I had to whip up a quick batch of frosting. It really does make all the difference in the world. Thanks for coming by--have a great day!

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

    Okay, here is an insight into my personality and character. I do not like plain sugar cookies, but put frosting on them and I'll devour the plate. I wonder what that says about me? LOL

    I'll be trying this recipe my friend.

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